County council considers ULEZ signs ban

Essex councillors want to hamper Sadiq Khan’s expansion of ULEZ zones to some parts of the county – by banning roadside signs for the scheme.

Members of the Tory majority group on Essex County Council are fighting plans to extend the scheme into historic parts of Essex that now sit within the Greater London Boundary.

They are calling for a complete ban any new ULEZ signage on the county council’s land or highways – and also want to stop any existing ULEZ signage on Essex highways from being updated. The proposals coincide with the start of a judicial review into London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s plans to expand London’s Ultra-Low Emission n at the High Court today July 4.

Five Conservative-led councils – Bexley, Bromley, Harrow, Hillingdon and Surrey – have launched legal action over the scheme, planned to cover the whole of London from the end of August arguing it will financially impact motorists hard. But London’s Labour mayor says the scheme is needed to tackle air pollution.

Councillor Holly Whitbread, deputy cabinet member in charge of highways communications, said: “‘his council recognises the importance of air quality for Essex residents and the council’s forthcoming strategy sets out the current understanding of the air quality issues and clear actions to improve the air quality in Essex going forward.

“However, this council condemns the London ULEZ expansion which will impact businesses and could separate families and friends who live in Essex from those who live in the historic parts of Essex that are now within the Greater London boundary. This ULEZ expansion will also disproportionately hit key workers and those on low incomes who cannot afford to buy new, compliant cars and therefore calls upon the Mayor of London to reverse this decision.

“This council also calls upon the cabinet member for highways and sustainable transport to not permit any new ULEZ signage on Essex County Council land or highways, nor allow any existing ULEZ signage on Essex Highways property to be changed.”

The proposals will be debated in full next week. The count council’s motion follows a similar motion passed by Brentwood Borough Council in March that stated ULEZ “to be a regressive tax inflicted upon the poorest”.

Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter